After selecting a theme that supports the essential question, the PLC team can develop a thematic diagram or web, which is an excellent way to organize a Common Core unit. At the center of the web is the central theme or essential question, and spanning outward from it are the supporting anchor standards, each relating to a different strand/domain. To accomplish this task it will be important for the PLC team understand how the Common Core is organized in terms of structure.
For example in secondary ELA standards (English Language Arts) there are four strands or domains that include, reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Reading has ten anchor standards with two subsets "Clusters" that are defined under text complexity of literature (L) and information text (I). The writing strand/domain has ten standards, that include some bulleted subsets "Clusters" under standards 1, 3 and 9. The speaking/listening and language strands have six standards assigned to each of the strands/domains.
Each standard articulates what students are to learn by the end of a school year. For the purpose of understanding the difference between strands/domains and standards each are given a special coding. Letters are associated with the strands/domains while numbers are assigned to the standards. In the chart below each ELA strand is represented by the number of standards and subsets associated with Common Core coding practices.
Using these codes in the curriculum web will help demonstrate how each strand is related to common core standards and their subsets. As stated earlier the purpose in developing a curriculum web is to show relationships between standards and theme or essential question. To display this relationship an example of a curriculum web for an unit entitled "Author and Artist" has been provided below.
Integrating Technology Standards
The next step in developing the Curriculum Web would be to integrate additional standards that support the ELA standards charted for the unit, such as technology standards. To integrate technology standards would be to construct the a curriculum coding system using the same structure as the ELA standards by identifying grade level technology strands and standards that support each strand. An example of how these strands could be developed is used by the Topeka School District in Kansas. The Topeka School District uses six strands for eighth grade that are identified by number of standards in progressive numerical order as the standard code is attached by the number of standards identified under each strand. An example of how codes are assigned to each strand is provided in the chart below.
To integrate the unit standards the PLC team would chart the Technology Standards within the ELA curriculum web as they match to the skills needed within the theme of the unit. The technology standards could be linked to the specific theme independently like "ET.08.312: Develop a collaborative project using online tools." or integrated directly to an ELA standard within the unit like "ET.08.3.10: Determine the most appropriate search engine for a given task." (See Example of Educational Technology Standards Topeka School District) The curriculum web below provides a schematic diagram of how technology standards, represented in the blue ovals, can be integrated in a unit of study that are both tied to the ELA standard or independently tied to a theme.